How to become more supporter focused? | Flying Cars tips

Make your supporters feel like these guys :-)

Make your supporters feel like these guys :-)

In the first 43 days of starting Flying Cars - an innovation and insight collective - I’ve been asked this often. How can we become more supporter-centric? In between suffering from severe impostor syndrome - (can I do this? Errr yes I really just about think I can!) I’ve given the question some thought. In my experience most organisations are quite supporter-centric - but in the spirit of continuous improvement - we can always do better right?

Working at The Children’s Society with Joe Jenkins as the visionary, we created and wrote an extensive supporter engagement strategy in 2016. The strategy hypothesised that if we designed and delivered better supporter journey’s the lifetime value of our amazing supporters would subsequently increase. Our impact for children would increase in the areas of time, money and voice. I ran the change programme that set us on the path to making the strategy a reality. We took huge strides forward in this area and the organisation continues on its evolutionary path to supporter nirvana

But becoming supporter-centric is a long-term commitment. You won’t achieve it in 12 months, or 24. You might make some strides in 3 years. But it will take 5 years to turn your operating model round and even then you will still be learning.

Here are a few quick tips of things to consider.

Tip 1 - flesh out what supporter journey’s/supporter-centricity means to your organisation. There will be unique definitions depending who you ask. I’d suggest asking everyone, analysing the answers, workshop to settle on a definition and then communicating it often and in different ways. Debate is healthy - but you must agree something and stick to it. Over communicate your definition.

Tip 2 - figure out how committed your organisation is to making a change from product focused to supporter-focused. You need to ask your colleagues, managers, directors, senior leaders, CEO’s & trustees. What metric do they most value on a scorecard? If it’s return on investment & gross income by quarter - you may have a tough job on.

Tip 3 - create a metric that measures supporter contribution/happiness - is it Net Promoter Score? Is it Lifetime value? Is it supporter satisfaction? Is it loyalty or commitment? There are many schools of thought - and no right answer. The best thing for your organisation will depend on many different factors. But you do need to measure something.

Tip 4 - is your CRM able to handle modern data created digitally? If it isn’t - you will only be able to take baby steps towards supporter-centricity. No one non-technical really wants a CRM project on their hands - but without a decent CRM - you won’t be able to generate a true single customer view, pulling in social data and with automated marketing journey’s. Bite the bullet on this.

Tip 5 - conduct a skills audit. Is your team equipped to deliver better supporter journey’s? It requires a different skill-set - it’s harder to do. Your team will need better data, relationship-building, digital and content-building skills. And that’s just for starters. You will need to audit your skills and then train, equip and hire differently.

Tip 6 - you’ll need to really understand those supporters. What they think, feel, get excited by and hate. That means asking them - think about a quarterly pulse survey, collect all the feedback they give you - and ask for more. All the time. Make sure you look at what they’re saying and act on it

Tip 7 - becoming more supporter-centric means letting go and accepting you are not the target audience for nearly everything you produce. In my experience this is one of the hardest things for people to do.

There are lots of other things you need to consider and think about. It’s a huge topic and one without an easy off the shelf toolkit. We know lots of organisations are wrestling with these issues currently so don’t feel like you need to solve everything on your own.

At Flying Cars we are obsessed with supporter insight - it’s the starting point for everything we do. If you’d like to chat about how you can transform your supporter experience email or give us a call on 0207 157 9504. We can definitely help you.